The Ducks game was a blast. We were told that we weren’t there to watch baseball — as though baseball is more interesting than running around with cameras* and interviewing really cool people.
Initially, the interviews weren’t going well. Nobody was really willing to speak to me. After about two failed attempts, Professor Ahmad asked how it was going and I told him: nobody wanted an interview.
“So how are you approaching them?” he asked. “Pretend I’m someone you want to interview, what would you say?”**
“Um, hi, I’m a student at a journalism program from Stony Brook. We’re covering the game, and I was wondering if I could interview you?” I said.
“Okay, you just gave me like journalism robot 3000,” he said.
Alicia came down from the stands then and she wasn’t doing any better than I was.
He pointed out a guy in a Donald Duck hat to us.
“Act more naturally, like say to that guy, ‘wow, what a weird hat, can I interview you?'”
I nodded and looked around awkwardly for a person that looked approachable.
“Just go ask that guy,” he said. “I gave you an opening. Wait for the inning to be over so that he’ll be more willing to talk to you.”
Professor Ahmad also explained that we need to cut back on long, unnecessary explanations. People don’t need us to waste their time.
Alicia and I hung out at the base of the stairs until Professor Ahmad pointed out that we could just sit in the row in front of him and then turn around the second the inning ends.
And who woulda known, it worked.
I was kinda like wow I’m stupid.
After that I watched the way Professor Ahmad interacted with the guy, and then, noticing that Sascha was doing pretty well, I watched the way she was interacting with people, too. They were both making casual conversation, as though they already knew the person.
I looked around, and noticing two little boys in Boy Scout uniforms, I started to make conversation. I asked them why they were there, what they were doing. And you know what? They talked to me. They were the first people I got to talk to me without help.
I had an equally successful experience with a super cool usher. His name was Bob. And his orange shirt was awesome.
The best part was when he told me I’d made his night.
*I apologize to anyone who likes baseball. It is a wonderful sport; I personally just don’t find it terribly exciting.
**None of my “quotes” are actually verbatim, although they are as close as my memory can recall.